Posted by Joshua on Monday, December 22nd, 2008
Syria is the only game in town for those wishing to advance peace between Arabs and Israel. This has the Jewish right apoplectic. Danielle Pletka who worked under John Bolton in the State Department tries sarcasm and insults in her “The Syrian Strategy” to embarrass those who would advance this strategy.
Barry Rubin, publisher of MERIA journal and author of The Truth About Syria gathered several Washington Institute types such as Patrick Clawson and David Schenker and other likeminded policy types to tell Americans that they are foolish to negotiate with Syria and Iran. Equally foolish is to try to make peace between Arabs and Jews or to withdraw from Iraq anytime soon. Rubin knowingly asserts that Obama’s
“belief, that [America] can make friends with Iran and Syria, soothe grievances that have caused Islamism and terrorism, and solve the Arab-Israeli conflict …. is a miscalculation about the Middle East.”
Americans perennially make the mistake of viewing the Middle East “in Western terms,” Rubin informs us, which leads “to frustration and even disaster.” Why? Because “You have to inspire fear in your enemies.” “Unfortunately, the change they want means wiping other states off the map.”
This “good versus evil” world view is repeated by the other participants of this round table, who seem to be nodding at each other in their desire to sound the toxin of existential extinction should the new administration lift its foot off the throat of its Arab and Persian enemies. The US’s only choice is to keep its many enemies in the region in a state of abject fear.
David Schenker explains that Bush viewed Bashar al-Assad as “basically as irredeemable.” Schenker basically agrees. He worries that “Obama appears to believe that Syria can play a more productive role in the region.” To Schenker’s chagrin, even “Dennis Ross, himself who is being mentioned as the possible Middle East coordinator has written that Assad should be tested.” Dennis Ross is The Washington Institute’s counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow. David Schenker is a senior fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute.
Schenker concedes that if Syria were to flip, and cut its relations with Iran and “jettison Hizballah and Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups and move into the Western camp,” it would be a good thing. Like, Barry Rubin, Schenker clearly does not expect Syria to do any such thing. To guard against the Golan being given away for what he seems to believe will be nothing, Schenker will have to police the Obama administration and encourage it to make many up front demands for change.
He and his colleagues will work assiduously to hang all kinds of Christmas balls and bobbles on the engagement tree, such that it is hard to imagine any progress or deal being struck. In order to protect her flank from such criticism, Israel’s foreign minister Livni reassured Israelis that she would be tough and not accept a “humus” peace. She said,
“What is important to us is not a peace of opening embassies and eating Humus in Damascus, but the halting of arms smuggling through Syria to Hezbollah, their strong ties to Iran and their endless support of terrorist organizations such as Hamas,” said the foreign minister.
Olmert has defended his drive to continue negotiations:
Referring to the ongoing indirect talks, Olmert said “the talks with Syria were thorough and important. Removing Syria from the radical axis is one of Israel’s top priorities.””Tough sacrifices will be required,” Olmert said, “but the prevention of lost lives is worth it. Syria is not interested in belonging to the axis of evil and wants to forge ties with the U.S.”
For his part, Bashar al-Assad also has demands and wants to tamp down expectations that he flip. He wants Israelis to agree on the exact 1967 Golan borders, (see: Assad seeks Israeli stance on Golan) so that the two sides will not get stuck in Geneva as they did in 2000 with very different expectations about borders. Assad also told European diplomats that he isn’t responsible for restraining Hezbollah, and won’t be “Israel’s bodyguard.”
Syrian President Bashar Assad has told a number of European foreign ministers and senior diplomats this month that he would not lift a finger to restrain Hezbollah’s arming in Lebanon. “I am not Israel’s bodyguard,” he reportedly said…. On the one hand, the officials said their impression was that the Syrian president was serious about negotiations, but that Assad’s positions remained uncompromising.
The source said Assad told the Europeans that Syria was willing to take significant steps in talks with Israel only after an Israeli declaration that it would withdraw from the entire Golan Heights.
Assad refuses to make concessions before he gets guarantees about withdrawal. Israel will also refuse to make concessions until it has guarantees.
Another topic that will be interesting to those of us that follow Syria closely is David Schenker’s successful enticement of Andrew Tabler to work for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Andrew Tabler will give the Institute’s Program on Arab Politics some real expertise on Syria. As WINEP’s site explains, “Andrew Tabler …. will focus on how to engage Syria in a way that best advances U.S. interests.”
Anyone who follows Syria will know Tabler for his long and founding association with “Syria Today,” Syria’s first English language magazine. He has been a powerful and creative presence in the expat scene in Damascus for almost eight years. This is how Tabler describes himself for WINEP’s bio:
A journalist and researcher, Mr. Tabler has achieved unparalleled qualitative and long-term access to Bashar al-Assad’s Syria. He is the cofounder and former editor-in-chief of Syria Today, Syria’s first private-sector English-language magazine, and has been a media consultant for Syrian nongovernmental organizations (2003-2004) under the patronage of Syrian first lady Asma al-Asad.
Lebanon Now carries a lengthy interview with Tabler as he prepared to leave Beirut, where he has lived half the time.
On the surface, we’re [American and Syria] very, very similar. But there are fundamental differences. The Arab world is badly ruled. Its rulers are not accountable to their people, and they often make very bad decisions. Because of that, people keep a lot of their personal feelings to themselves. When you get a chance to know people and find out about how they feel, you realize about their everyday frustrations, especially from the lack of reform. It’s not just a lack of democracy. It’s a lack of reform in these countries. …
There are many people in Washington right now that believe that Syria can be flipped and so on, and that by getting Syria to agree to sign a peace agreement with Israel is the key. It’s true, that if you had a peace treaty between Israel and Syria, it would definitely change the way Syria is regarded by the international community [and] would definitely change the way the regime would govern the country. But there is no silver bullet when it comes to Syria. There is no easy solution. ….
[The Obama people] have indicated they will use sanctions and other punitive measures to cajole their adversaries into cooperation. I expect the Obama administration… to use all the arrows into America’s quiver to bring Syria around…. I was the only foreign correspondent to ever travel with the Syrian president on a foreign state visit (China, 2004), and so I understand… [Syria’s] strengths and weaknesses. I want to try and make it so that whatever discussions come about are based on Syria as it is as well as what it could realistically be.
What do you think of Syria’s role in Lebanon?
I just think it’s important to not go back to the way things were in the 1990s. The 1990s for some people was an era of stability. For other people, especially in Lebanon, it was a nightmare. So it’s very important for US policymakers… [and] people who work on Syria in general to make sure that the US says very clearly to Syria that whatever happens, we can’t go back to the way things were in the 1990s. It’s not good for Lebanon, and it’s not good for Syria. … I don’t think [Obama’s] advisors are naïve. I don’t think they’ll be handing Lebanon back to Syria like in the 1990s. That was the historical exception. This isn’t going to happen again. It shouldn’t happen again because the first time, it didn’t work out very well. Also, perhaps most importantly here, this would also not be very good for Syria. During those years that Syria was in Lebanon and controlled Lebanon, they used Lebanon as the economic lung that stifled economic reform at home. Syria has to reform in order to accommodate the globalization. I recently attended a conference where Obama and McCain’s senior foreign policy advisors spoke in detail. I found Obama’s advisors very well-informed. We’ll have to see, but I’m optimistic.
I must say that I was a bit surprised to hear that Tabler was successfully recruited by WINEP. Some critics argue that the Institute acts as a quasi arm of the pro-Israel lobby. All the same, it does make sense in that it is the most influential Washington think tank on things Middle Eastern, in particular on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Martin Indyk helped to found it and Dennis Ross has hangs his hat there when he isn’t working for the president. What is more, precious few think tanks would hire a Syria specialist, so it is quite possible that Tabler had few choices. It is hard to think of a pro-Arab think tank in Washington that supports fellows – certainly not one that would hire a scholar for his knowledge of Syria. Unlike Jewish-Americans, Syrian-Americans don’t give money to think tanks, perhaps for the reasons that Tabler outlined in his interview.
As Tabler says, he is the “only foreign correspondent to ever travel with the Syrian president on a foreign state visit (China, 2004), so I imagine that someone in Syria is catching hell for his choice of employer after eight years in Damascus.
The Lebanese are also busy policing the Obama administration’s urge to engage Syria, as the following conference suggests.
(CSRwire) Washington, DC – December 15, 2008 – With an eye towards exploring the legacy and the future of Lebanon’s 2005 Cedar Revolution, which forced the exit of Syrian forces from Beirut, the Lebanon Renaissance Foundation (LRF) and the Aspen Institute hosted a forum event with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Dep. Asst. Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, Saban Center Director Martin Indyk, US Representative Charles Boustany (D-La.), US Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV), The Daily Star Opinion Editor Michael Young, Washington Post Columnist David Ignatius, Lebanese Minister of State Nassib Lahoud, several Lebanese Members of Parliament, and foreign policy experts from the Council of Foreign Relations, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Religioscope Foundation. The December 12 forum was the first major US program sponsored by the LRF.
During the day-long event, panelists discussed how Lebanon can ensure its sovereignty, establish a functional democracy, and eliminate threats from inside the country and from abroad. The event kicked off with a call from Secretary Albright for the United States to support the efforts of the non-Hezbollah forces in Lebanon to provide the basic services of a democratic government: “Democracy has to deliver. People want to vote and eat.”
“Our goal is to help Lebanon claim its birthright as a great nation, a regional center of finance and the arts, an example of what’s possible among people when they can work on building something up, rather than tearing each other down,” said Eli Khoury, president of LRF.
Citing the impressive ability of Lebanon, a country the size of Delaware, to “get the attention of the world,” Feltman spoke to an audience that included a number of Lebanese citizens about the likelihood of a shift in tone and emphasis with an incoming Obama Administration. “Changes in style and tactics should not be viewed with alarm,” he said. “Refrain from your habit of overanalyzing [the United States].” Feltman was also quick to warn that Hezbollah is just as much of a threat to the security of Lebanon as it is to Israel. It was a theme echoed by Indyk, who said that the “disarmament of Hezbollah is a Lebanese responsibility.” Indyk said that as long as Hezbollah was more militarily advanced than the government, it would continue to be a state within a state-jeopardizing Lebanon’s sovereignty and US support. Some speakers observed that Hezbollah should be able to retain its role as a political entity, but only if it disarms and yields to the government’s “monopoly of force” essential for the survival of Lebanese democracy.
Meanwhile, in a panel discussion among Lebanese members of parliament, political rivals debated the upcoming Lebanese election. Moderator Michael Young observed that the panel represented the “divisiveness of the Lebanese political class.” Still, all the panelists agreed that Lebanon should be a sovereign state, free from all forms of outside interference and manipulation. As Rep. Rahall said later in a keynote speech, “Do not let Lebanon be a prize for signing a peace treaty.”
Other notable quotes from the December 12 conference included:
“The support of the democratic values of Lebanon is something that is bipartisan in this nation.” – Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, The Aspen Institute
“Syria is a master at playing the spoiler role if it feels ignored or that its interests are threatened.”- Theodore Kattouf, President, AMIDEAST
“If Hezbollah and its allies take control of Lebanon, … the basis of US support for Lebanon will be jeopardized.” – Martin Indyk, Director, Saban Center, Brookings Institution
“We have to look at Syria’s intention toward Lebanon by the facts on the ground, not by what Syria is saying.” – Jeffrey Feltman, Deputy Secretary of State for Near East Affairs
“Iraq is the greatest disaster in foreign policy primarily because of what it did to the good name of democracy.” – former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
“As we elect the 44th president, we have turned power over peacefully longer than any other place in the world.” – former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
“Lebanon’s failure would be a failure of opportunity for the United States in the Middle East.” – US Representative Charles Boustany
“The stakes are existential. … Lebanon is at the intersection of the realists and the transformationalists.” – Nayla Mouawad, Qornet Shehwan MP, Zghorta
“There is more competition over parliament seats than there is dialogue in Lebanon right now.”- Ghassan Mokheiber, Change and Reform MP, Metn
“Unless Hezbollah and the situation with Lebanon is high on the next administration’s list of priorities,” the Middle East will remain insecure. – Steven Cook, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
“I keep waiting for the actions of Hezbollah to create a counter – reaction. But it never seems to, and that worries me.” – David Ignatius, Columnist, The Washington Post
“Using one religious group to stop another is part of the tragedy of Lebanon.” – David Ignatius, Columnist, The Washington Post
Video of the conference will be posted at video.aspeninstitute.org.
The Lebanon Renaissance Foundation is an independent civil society group whose members are drawn from all religious denominations, who, through their professional activities, have been engaged in efforts aimed at preserving the core values of the Cedar Revolution. For more information, visit www.lebanonrenaissance.org.
Assad seeks Israeli stance on Golan
Reuters, 16 December 2008
Syria has drafted a document defining the boundaries of the Golan Heights and was waiting for an Israeli reply through Turkish mediators, sources familiar with the talks said this week.
President Bashar Assad recently told Western officials that Damascus wants Israel to take a clear position on the territorial problem between the two countries before agreeing to push stalled peace talks forward.
The Syrian document sets the boundaries with reference to six geographical points, the sources told Reuters.
“The president was clear that Syria wants to know the Israeli view about what constitutes occupied Syrian territory before progress could be made,” one of the sources said.
“According to Syrian thinking, Israeli agreement on the six (geographical) points could help seal a peace deal next year. But Israel may not be able to provide a response any time soon, when it is in such political turmoil,” a second source said.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in response to the report, “We do not negotiate through the media.” ….
Assad tells European diplomats that he isn’t responsible for restraining Hezbollah, and won’t be “Israel’s bodyguard”… http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1048342.html
Livni: Syria peace must involve more than just eating hummus in Damascus
Haaretz.com, 16 December 2008
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday said peace with Syria would have to involve more than mere culinary tourism, speaking in response to reports of Syria’s demands in indirect negotiations with Israel.
“What is important to us is not a peace of opening embassies and eating Humus in Damascus, but the halting of arms smuggling through Syria to Hezbollah, their strong ties to Iran and their endless support of terrorist organizations such as Hamas,” said the foreign minister.
Livni, the chairwoman of the leading Kadima party and a prime ministerial hopeful, made the comments at a conference in the northern Galilee.
She added: “I don’t know of negotiations that end before they have begun.”
Earlier Tuesday it emerged that sources familiar with the peace talks said this week that Syria has drafted a document defining potential boundaries for the Golan Heights and is waiting for an Israeli reply through Turkish mediators.
President Bashar al-Assad recently told Western officials that Damascus wants Israel to take a clear position on the territorial problem between the two countries before agreeing to push stalled peace talks forward…
Israeli diplomat: No more talks with Syria at this time
By Barak Ravid and Yoav Stern
Haaretz.com, 17 December 2008
Israel and Syria have both told Turkey that they are not currently interested in conducting another round of indirect talks with each other, an Israeli diplomat told Haaretz this week.
The diplomat said Damascus and Jerusalem explained that they are suspending the Turkish mediation in peace negotiations because talks would be pointless before Israel’s general election on February 10. Turkish officials said they believed talks would be resumed after Israel gets its new leader.
The decision to shelve the process did not invoke much protest from the Foreign Ministry, where top diplomats have said they are unhappy with the way peace talks have allowed Syria to break out of its isolation, despite its classification as a terror-sponsoring country.
This problem reached new levels when the European Commission issued a draft early this month for updating its free trade agreement with Syria, which had been suspended for several years. The signing of a final free trade deal will not happen any time soon, but the draft represents a significant achievement for Damascus…
Olmert: It is possible to negotiate peace deal with Syria
By Barak Ravid
Haaretz, 19 December 2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday in a speech that it was possible to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Syria.
Speaking at a conference of the Institute for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv, Olmert said that the indirect Israel-Syria talks mediated by Turkey can lead to direct negotiations, stressing that a peace treaty with Syria can be achieved.
Referring to ongoing indirect peace talks, mediated by Turkey, Olmert continued, saying “the talks with Syria were thorough and important. Removing Syria from the radical axis is one of Israel’s top priorities.”
“Tough sacrifices will be required,” Olmert continued, “but the prevention of lost lives is worth it. Syria is not interested in belonging to the axis of evil, and wants to forge ties with the U.S.”
Olmert said a peace treaty would break the ties between Syria and Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, but he could not guarantee success. He said, “How will we know if we don’t try? How can we try if we are not prepared to take any risks?”
“A peace deal with Syria will alter the balance of power between moderates and extremists in the Middle East? A deal with Syria will minimize the threat of war from the north and will eliminate the assistance it gives to terror organizations,” Olmert went on to say.
Right-wing MKs were quick to respond to Olmert’s address, with Likud MK Yuval Steinitz saying “the Golan is essential to Israel’s security, welfare and future, and cannot be used as currency by the Olmert-Livni government.”
MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) also criticized Olmert’s remarks, saying that the prime minister “dreams that the Israeli public will forget the corruption scandals that brought about the end of his reign, while [Syrian President Bashar] Assad dreams of wading in the Kinneret.”
Meanwhile Thursday, Olmert announced that he would be meeting Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Monday to discuss Israel’s indirect peace talks with Syria and other issues.
Turkey has been mediating the indirect talks but they were suspended earlier this year after Olmert announced his resignation over a corruption scandal.
Olmert remains Israel’s caretaker premier until a new government is formed after a February election.
“Prime Minister Olmert spoke yesterday to the Turkish prime minister and they agreed to meet on Monday in Ankara,” said Mark Regev, Olmert’s spokesman. “The meeting will deal with bilateral issues as well as regional issues, including the political processes in the region.”
An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said indirect peace talks with Syria will be high on the agenda during the Olmert-Erdogan meeting.
“It’s possible that there will be another round but it has not been decided,” the official said of the Israeli-Syrian track.
On Tuesday, it emerged that sources familiar with the peace talks said this week that Syria has drafted a document defining potential boundaries for the Golan Heights and is waiting for an Israeli reply through Turkish mediators.
Israel and Syria held almost 10 years of direct talks under U.S. supervision which collapsed in 2000 over the scope of a proposed Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.
Israel captured the plateau in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it more than a decade later – a move rejected by the United Nations.
Change they can believe in
By Walter Russell Mead Published: December 17, 2008
Reviving the Middle East peace process is the worst kind of necessary evil for a U.S. administration: very necessary, and very evil.
It is necessary because the festering dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians in a volatile, strategically vital region has broad implications for U.S. interests and because the security of Israel is one of the American public’s most enduring international concerns.
It is evil because it is costly and difficult. The price of engagement is high, the chances for a solution are mixed at best, and all of the available approaches carry significant political risks.
The incoming U.S. president, Barack Obama, faces a daunting task. He needs to develop a Middle East peace strategy that makes a clear break with the past, that is politically sustainable at home and abroad, that offers real hope for a final resolution, and that in the interim can bring benefits to the two peoples, the wider region, and the United States itself.
The way to do this is to change the way that a peace deal is framed.
In the past, U.S. peacemakers have had an Israel-centric approach to the negotiating process; the Obama administration needs to put Palestinian politics and Palestinian public opinion at the center of its peacemaking efforts.
Despite their military weakness and their political factiousness, the Palestinians hold the key to peace in the Middle East. And if the United States hopes to create a more secure and stable environment for Israel, it must sell peace to Israel’s foes.
The Syrian Strategy
by Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute. 2008-12-21
….It is not inconceivable that the regime in Damascus might throw its supporters in Tehran under the bus in exchange for prestige, cash and a free hand in Lebanon. But it is unrealistic to expect President Assad to dispose of Hezbollah and Hamas in the same way. Mr. Assad — broadly disliked at home, a member of a mistrusted Alawite minority, comically inept at managing his country’s resources — can maintain his grip on power only as long as he is seen as a vital instrument of Israel’s defeat. ….
Carter meets with political leader of Hamas in Syria
CNN, 14 December 2008
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met Sunday in Damascus, Syria, with Khaled Meshaal, the exiled leader of Hamas’ political wing, a Hamas official said.
The five-hour meeting ended late Sunday and covered several issues, including Cpl. Gilad Shalit — an Israeli soldier held captive by Hamas since June 2006, the official said.
Carter previously met with Meshaal in April.In that meeting, the Hamas leader promised Carter that the group would allow Shalit to send a message to his parents, Noam and Aviva. Carter also asked Hamas to release Shalit, Meshaal said after the former president’s visit, but the request was rejected. Hamas said Sunday it will soon release a statement about the latest meeting between Carter and Meshaal.
Carter’s series of meetings with top Hamas officials in April garnered condemnation from the U.S. and Israeli governments. They criticized him for engaging in diplomacy with a group that both governments consider a terrorist organization. How the incoming Obama administration will receive Carter’s meetings with Hamas remains to be seen.
During his visit in Syria, Carter also visited the Saint Taqla convent in the city of Maalula, north of Damascus, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria, EU closer to economic deal, hurdles remain
Daily Times, 16 December 2008
Syria and the European Union nudged closer to signing an economic agreement on Sunday but political differences among EU powers on how to handle relations with the Damascus government could delay a deal, diplomats said.
Officials from the two sides finalised the draft text of the association agreement, which focuses on economy, trade and security, and initialled it in a late ceremony on Sunday.
“This is mainly an economic agreement that will put reforms in Syria on a clear tack, but we don’t ignore the fact that it will also establish a political dialogue with the European Union,” Abdullah al-Dardari, Syria’s deputy prime minister for economic affairs, told reporters.
“The European Union is a market of 430 million people. Our goods have to be well priced but also of higher quality to be able to penetrate it,” he added
The agreement drops tariffs gradually between the two sides over the next 12 years.
It also has chapters on weapons of mass destruction and human rights, an issue that has been repeatedly raised by the European officials after Syrian authorities stepped up arrests of President Bashar al-Assad’s political opponents…
Syria looks to better times
By Sami Moubayed
Asia Times Online, 16 December 2008
There are two main schools of thought regarding the future of Syria, now that George W Bush has begun his long march into history and will be leaving the White House in January. Optimists claim that the future will be promising and rosy, citing Barack Obama’s expressed desire to engage with Damascus to find solutions to regional peace, Iraq and Lebanon.
Signals of this optimism are already emerging, the latest a statement by President Bashar al-Assad saying that the United States will be re-appointing an ambassador to Damascus in 2009. That went unchallenged by Washington. Other signs include Obama toying with the idea of appointing veteran US diplomat
Daniel Kurtzer, who wrapped up a visit to Syria in mid-2008, as his Middle East envoy. Kurtzer, who is close to the Syrians and served as Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Israel, is someone who has repeatedly called for dialogue with Damascus.
Others, however, are careful not to get too optimistic over Obama, claiming that dialogue between Damascus and Washington will be difficult – in some cases, very difficult. A third school, currently a minority, believes that Syria is in for difficult times because the international tribunal over the assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister, Rafik al-Hariri, has been set for March 1, 2009. This will roll the clock back to 2005, when Syria’s relationship with the international community was at a historic low. Pessimists argue that after becoming president, Obama will find it difficult to deliver on Syria, because of loose ends leftover from the Bush era, and would rather pursue the Palestinian-Israeli peace process…
…. What many people fail to understand is that Syria is not seeking financial reward for a peace deal with Israel – unlike the case with Egypt in 1978 or Jordan in 1994. Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state, once even commented that she was always surprised that the Syrians were not seeking direct US financial assistance, when talks were on the verge of succeeding in the mid-1990s.
Syria’s argument always has been that the only reward it wants is the lifting of sanctions, allowing the Syrian economy to grow and attract investment in a prosperous and healthy manner, from Europe, the US and the Arab Gulf. Syria is a rich country that has enough wealth and potential to manage and develop its own economy, without US money. Paying it to sign a peace agreement would mean that strings are attached, the Syrians believe. If peace does materialize in late 2009 – or early 2010 – this would give, in addition to restoration of the occupied Golan Heights, a tremendous boost for the Syrian economy, providing jobs, attracting investment and increasing growth.
Matters began shifting in Syria’s favor after the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006….